Metaverse And Web3 – What Is That?
Metaverse is a vision for a shared online world that doesn’t currently exist. In it, the virtual world, augmented reality, and the natural world merge. The users have a digital identity with which they can move seamlessly between different virtual spaces and applications. Logging in, logging out, entering a password, and opening apps and browsers will no longer be necessary. Users can create an avatar as an image of their digital identity.
What Is Metaverse In Contrast To Web3?
Web3 designates a new phase of the Internet – so to speak, the slowly emerging Internet of the future after Web1 and Web2. The early 1990s to around 2004 is referred to as Web1, characterized by rigid websites and content that reflected the analog world. You could only help shape a little as a user. The second stage of the World Wide Web began around the mid-00s and is characterized by content designed by users. Social media and blogs are vivid examples of this phase, which we are still in. Currently, however, it is the big platforms and Internet giants that are the gatekeepers of value creation and owners of the data. That will change in Web3. This new phase of the Internet is emerging slowly – so the transition is fluid. What characterizes this new phase is Decentralization made possible by a formative technology: the blockchain. This means that data is no longer managed centrally but stored decentrally on many different servers worldwide and is therefore protected against forgery. The users emancipate themselves from the platforms and Internet corporations. They become masters of their data, which they can release or hide for individual applications. In Web3, the users also design the content, rooms, events, and applications.
Web3 is the phase of the Internet, and Metaverse is the term for its experience.
Community, Community, Community!
Like today, the new Internet will also be about reach and communities.
Discords are springing up like mushrooms right now. Discord is a communication service initially used primarily by the gaming community. There are no news feeds, algorithms, or likes, but interest groups exchange ideas about their hobbies or interests. In individual groups, several hundred thousand people sometimes come together and discuss. This range is, of course, interesting for companies. People with an affinity for crypto, Web3, and Metaverse meet here, but more and more interest groups are currently discovering the platform.
This need of many people for topic-specific exchange, community, and genuine participation has enormous potential for retail!
Other platforms, such as Instagram, are already trying their hand at Web3 applications. It will soon be possible to buy NFTs on Instagram in Europe, which are digital collectibles here. By the way: digital music is no longer called MP3, even if this format is behind it. The naming is essential because most people will still be unfamiliar with the blockchain term in a few years and, therefore, somewhat suspicious.
Manufacturers And Brands Sell Directly To End Customers.
First, the bad news: Direct-2-Consumer could become even more vital. Due to the e-commerce of the past years and decades, manufacturers and brands have become less dependent on retailers. Access to customers could be implemented quickly through platforms and their own web shops. However, this is only worthwhile for specific products or product groups that cause a strong emotionalization in the customer. FCMG, most groceries, or even fast fashion are not among them – these goods will continue to rely on trade.
D2C is, of course, problematic for retailers. Many traders will also suffer from the additional opportunities and market shifts brought about by the Metaverse. Dealers have to concentrate on their core areas: consulting, curating, and customer relations.
And The Stationary Trade?
The market shares of online trade are growing every year, and the corona pandemic has even acted as a catalyst again. It currently needs to be determined when this process will be completed. One thing is sure: it still needs to be completed because more and more industries and product groups are shifting to e-commerce. Ten years ago, when retail experts were adamant that nobody would buy shoes online, they were convinced otherwise. A few years ago, it was also unthinkable for the food trade that so many people would buy groceries online. During the pandemic years, the Quick Commerce providers proved that they, too, can wrest market shares from the long-established food retail giants that seem to be firmly in the saddle—ascending trend.
Web3 and Metaverse have the potential to amplify these processes. So what can stationary, tiny, and medium-sized retailers do? Here, too, the answer is experience, experience, experience. However, this is about physical, personal, and interpersonal expertise. About the conversation, the advice, the haptic inspiration, the shopping experience paired with events in the city center, and good gastronomy. Surveys show that even very young target groups of Generation Z and Y appreciate the real shopping experience in the city center and want to take advantage of it. Anyone who does this well as a retailer will also have good luck in the future.
Whether there will be platforms and online marketplaces in the Metaverse like in Web2 remains to be seen. However, the probability is there. Not all brands and manufacturers will make direct sales here because the costs are high – so it’s more worthwhile for high-priced products.
Examples: Mittelstand In The Metaverse
What can retailers do to get into the Metaverse? The options are currently limited. But why not accept bitcoin or ether as payment in the store? This can also be a good marketing campaign for the local press and causes a stir. It’s worth considering, especially if you want to appeal to young target groups. Legally, this is unproblematic: instructions can be found online.
In addition, there are already some NFT funding projects by smaller companies. One example is Estonian egg farmer Tanel Tang, who failed to secure vital funding from his local bank. His solution: he offered his customers NFT with a profit share. Even before the campaign, Tang’s organic eggs had a large fan community and were well-known in the area. Thanks to its wide-ranging online community, 65% of the NFTs on offer were sold within the first 24 hours.